Fear is a powerful emotion. It's one of the three main subjects for those doing a traditional fourth step inventory in AA. I remember working on mine back then. It might be time to work on another. I remember walking down the streets of Portland, Oregon and having sudden panic attacks where I had to sit down in the middle of the sidewalk until it passed. I remember hiding under my bed sheets and being too frightened to answer the phone. I would like to think I'm better about this, but I wonder.
When I work with clients, I have to remember that fear is a large part of what brought them to my office. Most of the men I work with are angry and behind that anger is fear. They feel threatened and do not know how to deal with fear and so they act out explosively.
In a clinical meeting recently, a counselor smarter than me had done some research on "fight or flight" responses in the brain and it's been discovered that the average person loses around 25 points off their IQ when in this state. No wonder I and others make bad decisions when we're in fear mode.
I remember bringing these concerns to several spiritual teachers, also smarter than me, and they told me the only thing to do when I have feelings is to take a moment to feel them. See where the feelings rise up in my body. See and feel the breath and the heartbeat and the adrenaline surging through me. I didn't like the answer, but I learned how to do it. Still, hiding under my bed sheets for the next four years seems like a perfectly reasonable thing to do.